Dorothy Stratten

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Dorothy Stratten
Dorothy Stratten
Playboy centerfold
August 1979
Also Known as  
Birthplace Vancouver, BC Flag of Canada.png
Birthdate Feb 28, 1960
Date of death Aug 14, 1980 - age 19
Measurements 36" - 24" - 36"
Height 5' 9" / 1.75m
Weight 123 lbs / 56 kg

Dorothy Stratten (born Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten) (February 28, 1960 – August 14, 1980) was a Canadian model and actress.

She found fame as the Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and Playmate of the Year for 1980. Stratten afterwards began a modestly successful acting career.

She was murdered at age 20 by her estranged husband, an act that was the basis of two motion pictures.


Stratten was born in a Salvation Army hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Simon and Nelly Hoogstraten, Dutch immigrants. Her parents had married in Holland in 1954. In 1961 her brother John Arthur was born, and sister Louise Beatrice was born in May 1968.

She grew up and attended Centennial High School in Coquitlam. In 1977, while working part-time in a local Dairy Queen, she met a Vancouver-area promoter named Paul Snider (then 26), who coaxed her into sending photos to Playboy. Stratten forged her mother's signature on the model release form.

In 1979, after changing her surname to Stratten, she became Playboy's Miss August. She also found work as a Bunny at the Los Angeles Playboy Club. In 1980, she became Playboy's Playmate of the Year. Her original pictorial was photographed by Mario Casilli.

In June, 1979, she married Snider in Las Vegas, Nevada. The couple's relationship quickly deteriorated, as Snider became prone to fits of jealousy and bizarre, controlling behavior; he constantly took credit for Stratten's fame, stating that he was the reason for her success, and repeatedly attempted to usurp her fame when in the presence of celebrities.

Hugh Hefner reportedly encouraged Stratten to sever ties with Snider, calling him a "hustler and a pimp." Rosanne Katon and other friends warned Stratten about Snider's behavior. By August of 1980, Snider's personality had turned obsessive. He hired a private detective to follow Stratten and report back to him everything she did. Stratten meanwhile developed a relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich, with whom she began having an affair. Snider and Stratten separated and Stratten moved in with Bogdanovich. Stratten had also made plans to file for divorce from Snider.

Playboy stats

To become a successful actress and do a lot of traveling.
Life, love, poetry and little animals.
Jealous people, oysters, people who don't care about their bodies, wasting time.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Midnight Express, A Star is Born, Silent Movie.
Mork & Mindy, Bionic Woman, All in the Family, The Gong Show.
Barry Manilow, Janis Ian, Village People.
Lord of the Flies, Love Story, Oliver's Story, Valley of the Dolls, Sunshine.
Steak, Japanese food, lasagna.
To fly to the moon; to be able to hear other people think for a day.


On August 14, 1980, Paul Snider and Stratten met at Snider's duplex, in which the couple had once lived along with their friend, Dr. Stephen Cushner. Cushner still lived in the home with his girlfriend and his girlfriend's best friend, but Cushner and the women were all out for the day when Stratten showed up at the home. What exactly transpired is unknown; at noon, Snider's private investigator called the apartment. He was aware that Stratten and Snider were meeting, and wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly. Snider told the detective "Everything is going fine" and hung up.

At 5:00 p.m., Cushner's girlfriend and her friend arrived home to find Stratten's car in the driveway. The door to Snider's room was closed and Stratten was nowhere to be seen; the women assumed that the two were in the bedroom and wanted privacy. They stayed until 6:00 p.m. to watch the news, then left at 6:30.

At 7:00 p.m., Cushner arrived home and found Stratten's car in the driveway. He assumed that Snider and Stratten wanted privacy. One hour later, at 8:00 p.m., Cushner's girlfriend and her friend arrived back home from dinner. At 11:00 p.m., the private investigator called Cushner. According to the investigator, Snider had given him instructions to periodically check in over the course of the day, but Snider hadn't answered his private line for some time. The investigator told Cushner that he believed something was wrong and that someone needed to check on Snider and Stratten.

Shortly after 11:00 p.m., Cushner broke into Snider's room. There he discovered Stratten dead from a gunshot wound to the head and Snider from a self-inflicted gunshot

Dorothy Stratten is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.

Also see the page [ Paul Snider ] for more information about Dorothy Strattens death

References to Stratten

Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed Stratten in the 1981 television film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story.

Stratten's tragic story was portrayed in Bob Fosse's 1983 film Star 80 starring Mariel Hemingway (Stratten) and Eric Roberts (Snider). (Star 80 was the license plate on the Mercedes Benz purchased by Paul Snider with Dorothy's money)

Peter Bogdanovich wrote a book about her titled The Killing of the Unicorn. He later married Dorothy Stratton's sister, Louise. They divorced in 2001.

Fellow British Columbian Bryan Adams co-wrote two songs about Stratten. The first, titled "Cover Girl" became a hit for the band Prism in 1980 and the second titled "The Best Was Yet to Come," written with Jim Vallance, appeared on Adams' 1983 album Cuts Like a Knife and was later covered by Laura Branigan.


Following her appearance in Playboy, Stratten launched a modest acting career, appearing in five movies before her death:

  • Skatetown USA (1979)
  • Americathon (1979)
  • Autumn Born (1979)
  • Galaxina (1980) - her only starring role
  • They All Laughed (1981) - released posthumously
  • She also appeared on television in Fantasy Island, the "Cruise Ship to the Stars" episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

See also

External links


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